Littleport medical centre offers specialist treatment for blood disorder
- Credit: St George's
Patients with a genetic blood disorder can now have their treatment at a Littleport medical centre, rather than travelling to a hospital.
Haemochromatosis is an inherited condition where the body’s iron levels slowly build up over many years.
If left untreated, it can damage the liver, joints, pancreas and heart.
Now St George’s Medical Centre in Littleport can now offer patients the specialist treatment needed to manage the condition.
The service is part of a five-month pilot and means patients can avoid the expense and inconvenience of travelling to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
St George’s Medical Centre is now working in partnership with the hospital, and the charity Haemochromatosis UK to offer treatment in the community.
It is expected up to 35 people will benefit initially, and hopefully more in the future.
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The pilot is due to continue until September, after which it will be reviewed for further funding with the view of being rolled out to other areas of the country.
Dr Mukesh Bolina, GP Partner at St George’s Medical Centre, said: “The feedback from patients involved in the pilot so far has been very positive.”
Haemochromatosis patients have to undergo venesection treatment, which is considered to be the simplest and quickest way of reducing the number of red cells in their blood.
The procedure is similar to giving blood.
When the disorder is first diagnosed, treatment may be needed every week.
As it becomes more manageable, patients can continue to need treatment two to four times a year for the rest of their life.
Neil McClements, Chief Executive of Haemochromatosis UK, said: “It can be difficult and expensive to attend hospital appointments for venesection treatments, especially for those travelling by public transport or in rural areas.”
He added: “We hope to take the learnings from this project to other parts of the country, as we replicate this community-based approach in other geographically remote areas.
“This will help many others with genetic haemochromatosis to access the treatment that they need, easily and conveniently.”
Haemochromatosis UK also trained the team at St George’s Medical Practice in delivering the venesection treatment.